To put this in perspective for you, his second-quarter take of $11.2 million was considered shockingly poor.

Sen. John McCain’s campaign has raised only $3.7 million to date for the third quarter, an influential friend of the Arizona Republican has told The Washington Times.

“The hope was to reach $4.5 million, about a third of what was raised in the ‘disastrous’ second quarter,” the McCain supporter told Ralph Z. Hallow, who will report the story in Friday’s editions of The Times.

Speaking on the condition of anonymity to protect his relationship with the senator, the friend said: “Those are gross numbers, not net. Plus the campaign is carrying $2.5 to $3 million in debt. [He’s] done for.”

He’s up a few points in the polls since his strong debate showing but Sager explains why it’s evanescent. He’s doomed in Iowa, almost certainly doomed in South Carolina, behind local boys Mitt and Rudy in New Hampshire, and without any state presence at all in Florida, which is expected to be the bellwether for Super Ultra Mega Tuesday on February 5. If the Times is right, then his goal now isn’t winning, it’s saving face by crawling across the finish line. He’s the only politician in America who needs a turnaround in Iraq more desperately than Bush does.

I hope he pulls the plug soon, not because I relish seeing him embarrassed but because he lends a lot of moral authority to the war effort and would have more time to stump for it once he’s out. The press is itching to crown him with Elder Statesman status anyway so they can go back to fawning over him as a Moynihan-esque font of reason that transcends partisanship. Let the apotheosis happen, Maverick! Let go.

Update: See what I mean about McCain as head hawk? Pure gold.